Tag: Jose Contreras

Who’s right and who’s left

In early December, the Phillies signed lefty slugger Laynce Nix to a two-year, $2.5 million deal. Less than two weeks later, they traded right-handed corner outfielder Ben Francisco to the Blue Jays for a left-handed reliever that’s unlikely to have a significant impact with the team at the major league level. Francisco then avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal with Toronto worth about $1.5 million.

Nix’s role with the Phillies looks likely to be as the left-handed part of a platoon in left with John Mayberry — especially early in the season when Howard’s absence at first should open up some opportunities for Mayberry to play there.

Nix offers power against right-handed pitching, he’s pounded out 48 doubles and 35 home runs against righties in 817 plate appearances over the last three season, but it will come with a low average and not enough walks. And he can’t play at all against lefties. He comes into 2012 with just 216 plate appearances against lefties for his career and a 181/235/271 line against them. The bigger concern about Nix, though, is not what he does against his bad side (lefites), but that he has a career .296 on-base percentage on his good side (against righties).

Question for today is whether Ben Francisco or Laynce Nix is a better choice offensively against right-handed pitchers, given that there’s no question that the righty Francisco is better than the lefty Nix against lefties.

I think the answer for today is no. Nix is probably better against right-handed pitching offensively than Francisco. But it’s close and I think it’s close enough to make you wonder if Francisco’s huge advantages against left-handed pitching make him the more valuable offensive player overall.

Nix was clearly better than Francisco against righties in 2012. Here’s what each of them did for the year:

Nix 320 263 306 475 341
Francisco 167 243 345 393 322

Both Nix and Francisco walked 19 times against right-handed pitching in 2011. Francisco got his walks in 167 plate appearances while Nix got his in 320. Francisco walked nearly twice as often, drawing walks in about 11.4% of his plate appearances against righties while Nix walked in about 5.9% of his.

Nix was more likely to get a hit (24.4% of his PA vs righties compared to 20.4% for Francisco).

They hit doubles at almost the same rate. 4.2% of PA for Francisco and 4.1% for Nix. Nix was more than twice as likely to hit a home run, knocking out 16 in his 320 plate appearances (5.0%) while Francisco hit four in 167 (2.4%).

Almost inarguably, Nix was better against right-handed pitching in 2011.

2011 was the worst year of Francisco’s career, though. It’s a different story if you look at their career numbers against righties.

Nix 1584 253 296 451 320
Francisco 1034 259 326 433 333

Francisco still walks more if you look at their career numbers (7.4% to 5.6%) and is still more likely to double in a given plate appearance (6.4% to 5.6%).

The gap in how likely they each are to get a hit narrows, but Nix still comes out ahead. 23.5% for Nix and 23.1% for Francisco. Nix is still way more likely to hit the ball out of the yard, homering in about 3.9% of his plate appearances against righties compared to about 2.9% for Francisco.

Over their careers, Francisco has been at least as good against righties. But not over the last three seasons.

Nix’s career to this point can be looked at in three three-year blocks — three years with Texas where he was pretty bad, three years where he didn’t play much and the last three years, when he’s been a lot better offensively than he was early in his career.

From 2002-2005 he was pretty awful, hitting 247/285/426 over 835 plate appearances in those three years combined. He played his last game of the ’05 with the Rangers in July of that year and had shoulder surgery. From 2006 to 2008 he hardly played at all in the majors, getting just 95 plate appearances between the Brewers and Rangers combined. He spent 2009 and 2010 with the Reds, hitting 257/311/468 over 519 plate appearances in those two years combined, before hitting 250/299/451 over 351 plate appearances for the Nats last year.

Here’s the wOBA each of them has posted against righties for the past three seasons:

2011 2010 2009
Nix 341 335* 336
Francisco 322* 287* 349

Nix tops Francisco in two of the three years, but with Francisco posting the best mark against righties in 2009 at .349. I put asterisks next to the three seasons where the player got less than 170 plate appearances against righties for the season. In the non-asterisk seasons, Nix or Francisco got between 300 and 350 plate appearances against righties that year.

This article says that Amaro doesn’t expect Howard back for Opening Day and would be happy if he’s back in May, that Polanco should be close to 100% for Spring Training, that the Phils will be cautious with how they handle Utley and his knees during Spring Training and that Contreras should be ready near Opening Day.

The Phillies signed Juan Pierre to a minor league deal. The linked article suggests Pierre is an option for the Phils in left. That would be an exceptionally poor idea. Happily, in the same article, Amaro suggests the bulk of the time in left will go to Mayberry and Nix and mentions Brown as being in the mix as well.

The Phils have avoided arbitration with Hunter Pence as Pence has agreed to a one-year, $10.4 million deal.

Pat Burrell is retiring.

The list of guys who might hit fourth for the Phils while Howard is sidelined is apparently long.

Guess appearance

Today’s very early guess on who starts the year with the Phillies. Barring new injuries, I think we can count on these 12 hitters:

1 Ruiz
2 Utley
3 Rollins
4 Polanco
5 Mayberry
6 Nix
7 Victorino
8 Pence
9 Wigginton
10 Thome
11 Schneider
12 Valdez

Notable no-shows on that list include Ryan Howard, still recovering, Domonic Brown and Michael Martinez.

Assuming you don’t count Wigginton, there are just four outfielders on that list including one, Nix, who can never, ever be used against lefties. On a related note, I have some trouble buying completely into the idea that Wigginton is the nearly every day first baseman while Howard is out. If Thome can play first at all (he probably can’t) he’s clearly the better choice. I think Mayberry is a better choice offensively as well, but to give him much time at first the Phils are going to need someone who can man left field against left-handed pitching. Maybe someone like Ben Francisco? Oh, wait.

I see one or two hitting spots as open, depending on how many pitchers the Phils decide to carry. I think one of them is filled by a fifth outfielder, either Domonic Brown or someone not currently on the roster who hits right-handed.

I think these 12 pitchers are likely to start the year with the Phils:

1 Halladay
2 Lee
3 Hamels
4 Blanton
5 Worley
6 Kendrick
7 Papelbon
8 Contreras
9 Bastardo
10 Stutes
11 Willis
12 Herndon

That assumes Contreras is healthy enough to start the year, of course, which is far from a sure thing. After Contreras, Stutes and Herndon seem like the two pitchers with the least solid hold on their slot. Brian Sanches, Phillippe Aumont and Justin De Fratus seem like the most likely candidates to squeeze past them or take Contreras’s spot if he’s not ready to go.

I have trouble seeing the Phils carrying more than two lefties out of the pen to start 2012. Unless Bastardo or Willis get hurt, or are consistently and resoundingly awful in spring training, I’d be surprised to see Joe Savery or Jake Diekman start the year with the Phils.

Joe Blanton says he’s feeling and throwing well. If he’s healthy he seems like a lock for the rotation. If he’s not I’d guess Kendrick takes his turns in the rotation, barring a big effort in the spring from NRIs Dave Bush and Joel Pineiro.

If the Phillies went with 14 hitters to start the year, my guess would be that Stutes and Herndon would be fighting for the eleventh pitching slot, advantage Stutes.

Cesar Hernandez was fifth on MLB.com’s list of the top ten second base prospects. Sebastian Valle ninth on the list of catching prospects.

Thome says that Spring Training will be the true test for his back in terms of when and how often he might be able to place defensively at first this year. I’m going to be surprised if we see much at all of Thome at first in 2012.

This says the Phillies are one of four teams still in the mix to land Francisco Cordero.

Update: Wilson Valdez was traded to the Reds for 26-year-old left-handed reliever Jeremy Horst.

Chase scene

One more time: From the start of the season through the end of June, the Phillies were eighth in the NL in runs scored. From the start of July to end the of the year the Phils led the league in runs scored. They also led the NL in runs scored from May 23 (the day that Utley returned) to the end of the year, despite a weak month with the bats in June.

The fact that the Phils had the highest-scoring offense in the league from May 23 to the end of the year sure makes it look like Utley turned things around single-handedly. And while he may have been the single biggest factor, he wasn’t the only one. As I mentioned in a recent post, Utley hammered the ball in June, hitting 297/387/470, but the Phils were still just eleventh in the league in runs scored for that month. Other factors in the resurgence included the addition of Pence to the lineup, a monster end of the season for Mayberry and improved offensive performances from Rollins and Ruiz during the second half of the year.

I think most would agree that either Pence or Utley was the key player in the offensive rebirth for the Phils. But which helped the Phillies more in 2011 — the return of Utley or the addition on Pence?

Overall for the year, Pence was way better with the bat, hitting an eye-popping 324/394/560 for the season with the Phils while Utley hit a much less impressive 259/344/425. But Utley’s return, despite an un-Utleylike performance with the bat, still helped the Phils more for several reasons, including:

  • The guys Utley replaced at second were a lot worse offensively than the guys Pence replaced in right
  • Utley came back much sooner. He was back on May 23 while Pence didn’t get his first plate appearance with the Phillies until July 30.

First point is that the Phillie 2B other than Utley were a lot worse than the right fielders other than Pence offensively compared to the average production for their positions in the NL. Here’s what the right fielders other than Pence did with the bat in ’11 and the second basemen other than Utley did, as well as the NL-averages for each of those positions:

PHI RF other than Pence 240 335 393
NL Average RF 271 345 449
PHI 2B other than Utley 234 283 294
NL Average 2B 257 319 380

The guys who played right for the Phils other than Pence, Brown and Francisco got about the same amount of plate appearances and combined for about about 91% of the non-Pence plate appearances at the position, hit just .240 for the season while the NL-average for right fielders was .271. What they did do, though, is walk a lot, drawing walks in about 11.5% of their plate appearances (NL players walked in about 8.1% of their plate appearances overall). All those walks helped the non-Pence right fielders for the Phillies up their on-base percentage almost to the level of the NL-average right fielder despite hitting for an average that was 31 points lower.

The non-Pence right fielders for the Phils didn’t hit for NL-average power at the position, but they weren’t off the mark by too much. The isolated power for the average NL right fielder was .178. For the Phillies other than Pence it was .153.

At second base, the Phillies other than Utley on-based just .283, which was bad even compared to the NL-average of .319 for the position. NL second basemen walked in just 7.2% of their plate appearances, but the non-Utley second basemen for the Phillies walked just 5.4% of the time.

The non-Utleys at second base also hit for very little power, combining not to hit a home run on the year. They flashed an isolated power of .060 for the season. The NL average for the position was .123. How bad is an isolated power of .060? Well, it’s not good. There were 188 NL players who got at least 200 plate appearances in 2011. Of those, seven put up isolated power numbers that were worse than .060. Among the 248 NL players who got at least 100 plate appearances, Pete Orr, who started 22 games at second for the Phils in 2011, posted an isolated power of .031 for the year, which was 247th among those 248 players.

When Utley did play for the Phils, he showed above-average power for an NL second baseman, delivering 38 extra-base hits in just 454 plate appearances with an isolated power mark of .166. That’s the worst mark of his career in any season where he got at least 200 plate appearances — but that’s less the point than that it was way, way better than the guys he replaced.

Overall, the Phillies other than Pence who played right field for the team came a lot closer to matching league average for the position than the second basemen other than Utley did. Compared to league averages for the position, they were closer to getting on-base at a league average clip and hit for almost as much power, while their second base counterparts got on base at a worse clip and hit for a lot less power.

There’s no question that Pence was a far more effective offensive player than Utley in 2011, but the combination of the fact that Utley simply got many more chances to hit and was replacing a group of players much worse offensively than Pence was means that the Phils benefited more from the addition of Utley.

And Utley got a lot more chances because he was back so much sooner. Here’s the percentage of the plate appearances at second that went to Utley and anyone other than Utley in 2011 and the same numbers for Pence and right field:

Plate Appearances % of plate appearances
Pence as RF 235 34.2
Others as RF 453 65.8
Total 688 100
Utley as 2B 451 65.4
Others as 2B 239 34.6
Total 690 100

As a percentage, Utley got nearly twice as many of the plate appearances at second base than Pence got at right field. So Pence would have to be enormously better than Utley to have the same impact. He was enormously better in Utley in the chances he got — he just didn’t have nearly enough plate appearances to catch him.

The table below looks at each of the position and what they actually did in terms of the three slash categories plus wOBA and wRAA. It also looks at what the Phillies would have done at those positions without Pence or Utley — if they had simply continued to give the non-Utley and Pence players plate appearances distributed the way they were actually distributed and got the same number of plate appearances at the position.

Actual RF 688 269 356 452 .354 20.0
No Pence 688 240 335 393 .324 3.0
Actual 2B 690 249 321 377 .305 -8.1
No Utley 690 234 283 294 .251 -38.5

As you can see, it’s not very close. The difference in the actual wRAA the Phillies RF put up compared to what they would have without Pence is 17.0 (20.0-3.0), which is just more than half of the difference for Utley (30.4).

Again, the issue is that the non-Pence right fielders for the Phils weren’t nearly as terrible as the non-Utley second basemen. The actual right fielders, including Pence, put up 29 doubles, four triples and 24 home runs over 688 plate appearances. Without Pence, had everyone continued to produce at their same levels, they would have hit 26 doubles, three triples and 20 home runs over the same number of plate appearances. They would have walked more (79 times to 78) over the 688 plate appearances, cause the walk rate for the non-Pences was better than it was for Pence. Pence did give the position a huge boost by adding a lot of power and a huge number of hits overall (again, Pence hit .325 while playing right while the non-Pence options combined to hit .240).

The non-Utley second basemen were atrocious. At their ’11 rates, they would have gotten 690 plate appearances without a home run. Utley hit 11 while playing second base last year. In addition to the power, despite hitting just .257, Utley also offered more hits than they had gotten without him and walked at a better rate. But mostly, compared to Pence, he just played a whole lot more and displaced offensive players who were a lot worse.

If you’re interested in calculating wOBA, wRAA, wRC or wRC+ for yourself, you may find this page at The Hardball Times and the link to the spreadsheet provided by the author very helpful.

This article says that Ryan Howard should be able to start baseball activities around mid-February. If you were expecting to see him in the lineup on Opening Day, I’d consider resetting your expectations.

In this article, Amaro says he hopes that Conteras will be ready close to Opening Day.

Non-roster invitees to Spring Training for the Phils this year look like they will include pitchers Austin Hyatt, B.J. Rosenberg, Dave Bush, Scott Elarton, Brian Sanches, David Purcey, Pat Misch and Raul Valdes, catchers Steven Lerud and Tuffy Gosewisch, infielders Pete Orr, Kevin Frandsen and Hector Luna and outfielders Scott Podsednik and Luis Montanez. Bush was a pretty solid starter for the Brewers in 2006 and 2008. Former Phil Brian Sanches was great for the Fish in 2009 and 2010, throwing to a 2.40 ERA with a 1.22 ratio and 105 strikeouts in 120 innings, before falling off last year. Raul Valdes is left-handed and pitched well in very limited action (12 innings) last year. Dave Purcey is left-handed and was pretty good in 2010. Pat Misch is left-handed.

This suggests the Phils are interested in reliever Kerry Wood.

This article on relievers in the system that could help the Phils in 2012 includes commentary on Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, Austin Hyatt and Tyler Cloyd.

Complete surprise

Vance Worley threw his the first complete game of his career last night, holding the Giants to two runs on three hits and a walk as the Phils pounded San Francisco for a 7-2 win.

The Phils are now 9-2 on the year in the 11 starts that Worley has made — that .818 winning percentage is the best for any of their starting pitchers. They are 17-4 (.810) when Halladay starts.

Worley hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last seven starts. In those outings the Phils have gone 7-0 while Worley has thrown to a 1.14 ERA and opponents have hit .151 against him.

The bats have come alive for the Phillies in July. After scoring 3.69 runs a game in May and 3.78 runs a game in June, the Phils have scored 113 runs while going 14-6 so far in July. That’s about 5.65 runs per game.

The Phillies are 65-37 after beating the San Francisco Giants 7-2 last night.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five.

Andres Torres was the first batter of the game and hit a ball over Mayberry’s head and off the wall in right. Torres moved to third on a ground out by Jeff Keppinger and came home to score on Pablo Sandoval’s fly ball to left, putting the Giants up 1-0. Aubrey Huff flew to right for the third out.

Up 4-1, Worley set the Giants down in order in the second and again in the third.

Keppinger led off the fourth with a single. Sandoval popped to short for the first out and Huff flew to right for the second. Nate Schierholtz grounded to Utley to leave Keppinger stranded.

Worley had a 5-1 lead when he started the fifth. Cody Ross led off and hit a ground ball to third. Martinez fielded, but his throw to first was bad for an error. Worley left him stranded by striking out the next three hitters, getting Mike Fontenot, Eli Whiteside and pitcher Barry Zito all looking.

He threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Up 6-1, he set the Giants down in order in the seventh.

He got the first two in the eighth before righty Aaron Rowand hit for the pitcher Zito. Rowand hit Worley’s first pitch out to left, cutting the Phillies lead to 6-2. Worley got Andres Torres on a ground ball to second for the third out.

Keppinger flew to center to start the ninth. Sandoval was next and drove a ball to left, but Ibanez made a nifty catch, timing his jump and crashing into the wall, for the second out. Worley walked Huff, then got Schierholtz to fly to right to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Barry Zito went (1) Rollins (2) Martinez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Ibanez (7) Mayberry (8) Schneider. Tim Lincecum was supposed to start the game for the Giants, but was scratched due to the flu. Mayberry played right instead of Brown, who was in the lineup before Lincecum was scratched.

Rollins and Martinez both flew out to start the bottom of the first with the Phils down 1-0. Utley followed with a single and came in to score when Howard doubled into the right field corner, tying the game at 1-1. Victorino walked after that and Ibanez hit the first pitch he saw from Zito out to right-center, putting the Phils up 4-1. Mayberry struck out to end the inning.

Ibanez stays in the lineup against the lefty with Francisco on the bench and delivers early. He came into the game hitting 221/250/379 against lefties.

The Phils went in order in the second and again in the third.

Victorino and Ibanez went down to start the fourth. Mayberry was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch out to left center, extending the lead to 5-1. Schneider struck out for the third out.

Score another for Manuel’s lineup against the lefty Zito.

They went in order in the fifth.

Utley led off the sixth and drove a ball to center. It hit off the wall and rolled and rolled towards right. Schierholtz finally got to it and threw it into the infield, but Utley raced all the way around and slid in just ahead of (or at about the same time as) the tag. He was called safe and the Phils were up 6-1. The Phils went in order behind him.

Very close play at the plate. Whiteside’s tag was high cause the relay came in on the third base side of home plate, but Utley might have been out.

Mayberry started the seventh with a double to left. He took off trying to steal third, but left too early. Zito stepped off and threw to second where he was picked off for the first out. Schneider walked behind him. Worley tried to bunt him to second, but struck out fouling off strike two. Rollins flew to center to end the inning.

Up 6-2, Martinez and Utley went down to start the eighth before Howard pounded a 1-0 pitch out to center. 7-2. Victorino flew to left for the third out.

Rollins was 0-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-20.

Martinez 0-for-4. 2-for-his-last-16.

Utley 2-for-4 with a home run. 11-for-24 with four doubles and three home runs over his last nine games.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI. 6-for-his-last-14. Twenty home runs on the year for Howard, all 20 of which have come against righties. He’s slugging .320 against lefties.

Victorino 0-for-3 with a walk. 6-for-his-last-16 with three walks.

Ibanez 1-for-3 with a three-run homer. 5-for-his-last-11. 279/309/498 over his last 285 plate appearances since May 3.

Mayberry 2-for-3 with a double and a home run. 353/353/647 in his last 34 plate appearances (12-for-34 with seven doubles and a home run).

Schneider 0-for-2 with a walk. He’s hitting .176 in 81 plate appearances for the year.

Cole Hamels (12-5, 2.62) faces righty Tim Lincecum (8-8, 2.90) tonight. Lincecum has allowed one run or less in five or his last six starts, throwing to a 1.66 ERA with a 1.13 ratio over those six outings. Hamels has allowed more than two runs in a start once in his last 11 outings. Righties are hitting 199/246/288 against him for the year. Over his last 14 starts he’s allowed just four home runs in 96 2/3 innings. That’s about .37 home runs per nine innings compared to his career rate of about 1.07.

This suggests there is no timetable for Contreras’s return and that Blanton may not return at all this year.

Gary Finkler has combined sports blogging and sketching at 7thinningsketch.com

Phils looking for whoever it was that forget to invite Chase Utley to his own coming out party

Chase Utley returned to the Phillies lineup last night and the lineup returned to 2009 form, pounding out ten runs as the Phils topped the Reds 10-3. Utley himself was the only one who didn’t seem to join in on the fun — he went 0-for-5 with a strikeout and was the only Phil in the starting lineup not to get a hit.

Coming into last night’s game, the Phillies had scored ten runs in their seven previous games combined.

The Phillies are 29-18 on the year after beating the Cincinnati Reds 10-3 last night. They have the best record in the National League and lead the Florida Marlins by two games in the NL East.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a three-run homer by Jay Bruce that accounted for all the runs charged to Hamels in the game. He struck out four.

He threw a 1-2-3 first, striking out Drew Stubbs for the first out, getting Paul Janish on a ground ball to third for the second and Joey Votto on a fly ball to left for the third.

He started the second up 2-0 and got Brandon Phillips on a fly ball to right for the first out. Scott Rolen struck out looking for the second before Jay Bruce reached on an infield single. Fred Lewis followed with a ground ball to third with Polanco throwing to second to force Bruce for the third out.

Hamels walked Ryan Hanigan on four pitches to start the third. Arroyo bunted, but Hamels fielded and threw to second to force Hanigan for the first out. Hamels struck Stubbs out swinging again for the second out. Janish grounded to third with Polanco again going to Utley to set the Reds down.

He started the fourth with a 9-0 lead and got Votto on a fly ball to center for the first out before Phillips and Rolen singled back-to-back, bringing Bruce to the plate with men on first and second. Bruce hit a 1-2 pitch out to right, cutting the lead to 9-3. Lewis lined to short before Hanigan drew a walk. Hamels balked him to second, but pitcher Matt Maloney hit for himself and grounded to short to end leave him there.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 fifth with the Phils up 10-3.

He hit Rolen with a pitch with one out in the sixth and Bruce moved Rolen to second with a single to left. Hamels struck out Lewis and got Hanigan on a ground ball to short to keep the Reds from scoring.

Stutes struck out Todd Frazier and Stubbs in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Stutes has now made 11 appearances for the Phils this season and been charged with one or more runs in just one of them. Righties are 1-for-16 against him for the season with five strikeouts and no walks.

Bastardo threw a 1-2-3 eighth, dropping his ERA on the year to 1.10. In 16 1/3 innings, he’s allowed eight hits and two runs while striking out 23.

Baez threw a 1-2-3 ninth, dropping his ERA on the year to 4.19. Opponents are hitting .291 against him for the season.

Three perfect innings for the pen in which they strike out three without allowing a hit or a walk. Nobody in the pen has appeared more than one day in a row. Baez threw 15 pitches, Stutes 13 and Bastardo 12.

The Phillies lineup against righty Bronson Arroyo went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Ruiz (7) Brown (8) Mayberry. Utley makes his 2011 debut in the second spot in the order. Ruiz catches and hits sixth, which is too high. Brown in right against the right with Mayberry in center and Martinez on the bench. Whether you like the order they hit in or not, the names sure look a whole lot better.

Rollins started the bottom of the first with a single to right. Utley flew to center for the first out before Polanco hit a 1-1 pitch out to left, putting the Phils up 2-0. Howard struck out looking for the second out and Ibanez grounded to first to end the inning.

Ruiz started the second with a single and moved to third when Brown followed with a double to right. Mayberry struck out swinging for the first out. Hamels was next and chopped a ball to first base. Ruiz tried to score from first, but Votto charged and threw home and Hanigan applied the tag for the second out. Brown took third with Hamels safe at first. Rollins flew to center to leave them both stranded.

Nothing for the Phils after putting men on second and third with nobody out. Mayberry can’t put the ball in play for the first out.

Utley grounded to the pitcher Arroyo for the first out in the third, but Polanco and Howard followed with back-to-back singles, putting men on first and second for Ibanez. Ibanez singled to left, scoring Polanco (3-0) and moving Howard to second. Ruiz walked, loading the bases for Brown and Brown lined to left. Lewis made a sliding catch in left for the second out and Howard should have scored, but read it wrong, had to go back to third and then held there. Mayberry was next and he blooped a single into shallow left-center, scoring Howard and Ibanez (5-0) and moving Ruiz to third. Hamels followed and lined a ball towards second that Philips should have caught but missed. Hamels had a single, Ruiz scored and the lead was 6-0 with men on first and second. Rollins was next and he hit a 3-2 pitch way out to right for his third homer of the year, putting the Phillies up 9-0. Lefty Matt Maloney took over for Arroyo and Utley struck out swinging 3-2 to end the inning.

It was 9-3 when the Phils hit in the fourth. Polanco led off with the walk and tried to steal second on a ball in the dirt, but Hanigan threw him out for the first out. Howard flew to a leaping Stubbs on the warning track in left-center for the second out before Ibanez drove a ball out to center, putting the Phils up 10-3. Ruiz followed that with a double to right before Brown popped to Phillips to end the inning.

The caught stealing by Polanco costs the Phils a run.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

Howard doubled with two outs in the sixth, but Ibanez grounded to first behind him.

Ruiz started the seventh with a single. Brown struck out behind him for the first out and Mayberry popped to first for the second. With righty Jose Arredondo on the mound for the Reds, Gload hit for Stutes and grounded to second to end the inning.

Gload still doesn’t have a walk or an extra-base hit on the season — he’s hitting 294/294/294 through 34 plate appearances. He’s 2-for-his-last-12.

Rollins, Utley and Polanco went in order in the eighth.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. He has slugged .372 in 606 plate appearances since the end of the 2009 season. In the five years from 2004 through 2008 he slugged .468 over 3,618 plate appearances.

Utley 0-for-5 with a strikeout in his first action of the season.

Polanco was 2-for-4 with a walk, a home run and two RBI. That’s his first extra-base hit since May 11, but he has hit in five straight games now, going 8-for-his-last-20.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a double and another well-hit ball that Stubbs handled at the wall. He’s 5-for-his-last-12.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with a home run. 353/380/618 over his last 71 plate appearances starting May 3.

Ruiz was 3-for-3 with a double and a walk hitting sixth. That’s the first time he has had three hits in a game this season. He came into last night’s game 4-for-his-last-43.

Brown was 1-for-4 with a double and five men left on base. He’s 1-for-8 with a double on the season.

Mayberry was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and two RBI. He’s 4-for-his-last-30 and hitting 150/261/250 in 46 plate appearances in May.

Worley (2-0, 1.13) faces righty Johnny Cueto (2-1, 1.45) tonight. Cueto has only made three starts on the year after missing all of April with a triceps injury. Righties are hitting just .150 against him in his three starts so far this year. Worley will be making his third start and fifth appearance of the year. He’s been good in all of them, striking out 15 batters in 16 innings while allowing just nine hits.

Contreras has his rehab appearance rained out last night. He is expected to pitch tonight and could be back later this week. The same article suggests that Victorino could be activated on June 3.

Philliesflow won’t be updated again until around Tuesday, May 31.

Offense ensures the latest efforts by Halladay are a complete waste

Roy Halladay threw his second complete game in two starts yesterday, but for the second straight start it wasn’t enough to get the Phillies a win. After plating just two runs in a 3-2 loss yesterday, the Phils have now scored three runs in his last two starts.

With yesterday’s loss the Phils dropped the series with Atlanta two games to one.

The Phils won the opener of the series 5-4. Ryan Howard gave the Phils an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first, but Atlanta got a run in the bottom of the first and tied it up with two more off of Hamels in the bottom of the fifth. A single, a double and a wild pitch by Hamels got Atlanta a run and a 4-3 lead in the sixth. A two-out double by Rollins in the seventh was followed by an RBI-single by Victorino, tying the game at 4-4. Howard led off the eighth with a double and came in to score on a one-out single by Ibanez. Five Phillie relievers combined to go three shutout innings after six innings from Hamels and Madson worked the ninth to earn his sixth save of the year.

Blanton only went five innings in game two and Kendrick and Romero followed that up by combining to allow three runs in the sixth. It left the Phils down 5-1 after six innings. They managed a pair of runs in an eighth inning that included an RBI-double by Valdez, but didn’t get anything more and lost 5-3.

Yesterday Halladay threw a complete game, but the Phils managed just four hits and fell 3-2. Mayberry drove in both the Phillie runs with a two-run homer in the sixth, but the slumping Dan Uggla went nuts for the Braves, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a home run and scoring all three Atlanta runs.

The Phillies are 25-14 on the year after losing to the Atlanta Braves 3-2 yesterday afternoon. The Braves take the series two games to one. The Phils are in first place in the NL East, two games ahead of the second-place Marlins

Halladay got the start for the Phillies in yesterday’s game and went eight innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo homer. He struck out seven.

Martin Prado led off the bottom of the first with a single. Nate McLouth bunted, but popped the bunt up to Howard for the first out. Brian McCann popped to third for the second out and Halladay struck Dan Uggla out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

You probably don’t bunt with your two-hitter in the first inning if you think you’re going to score a lot of runs in the game.

Eric Hinske flew to center for the first out of the second. Alex Gonzalez popped to Rollins for the second and Halladay struck Freddie Freeman out swinging 2-2 for the third.

Brooks Conrad fouled out to Polanco for the first out of the third, but the pitcher Tim Hudson followed with a single into center. Prado followed with a ground ball that Rollins handled, forcing Hudson at second for the second out. McLouth hit a ball ticketed for right. Orr made a nice sliding play on the outfield grass, but didn’t have a play on McLouth at second. McLouth had an infield single and Prado moved up to second. McCann flew to center to leave both runners stranded.

Uggla and Hinske singled back-to-back to start the fourth, putting men on the corners with nobody out. Halladay struck Gonzalez out swinging 0-2 for the first out. Freeman was next and hit a ball up the middle that Rollins likely would have fielded and turned into an inning-ending double-play, but the ball was deflected by Halladay and rolled towards short. Rollins didn’t have a chance to get an out, Freeman had an infield single and Uggla scored to put Atlanta up 1-0 with one out and men on first and second. Conrad popped to Rollins in short left for the second out and Hudson popped to Orr to leave both men stranded.

The Braves use some good fortune to grab the lead. Both of the hits by Uggla and Hinske were of the bloop variety and the deflection by Halladay gets Freeman an RBI-single.

Halladay had thrown 62 pitches through five innings.

He started the sixth with a 2-1 lead and walked Uggla on five pitches. Hinske moved Uggla to third with a single before Halladay struck out Gonzalez for the first out. Freeman was next and flew to left for the second out, deep enough for Uggla to tag and score, tying the game at 2-2. Conrad flew to right on a nice running catch by Mayberry for the third out.

Walking the leadoff hitter doesn’t usually work out for the best. Second time in three innings that Halladay struck out Gonzalez with nobody out and a man on third.

Halladay got righty Diory Hernandez, hitting for the pitcher Hudson, on a ground ball to first for the first out of the seventh. Prado walked behind him and McLouth followed that with a ground ball to first. Howard looked like the thought about going to second, but took the ball to first for the second out with Prado taking second. McCann grounded to first to end the inning.

If Howard doesn’t feel comfortable about throwing to second base, there’s good reason for that.

Uggla led off the eighth and hit a 3-2 pitch just barely out to left center, putting Atlanta ahead 3-2. Halladay got the next three hitters behind him.

At least now we know what’s worse than walking Uggla to lead off the inning.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Hudson went (1) Rollins (2) Martinez (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Mayberry (7) Orr (8) Ruiz. Victorino on the bench after hurting his hamstring trying to beat out a hit in game two of the series. This suggests Victorino could miss the next two games and try to return Wednesday at home. We’ll see. Martinez starts for him in center, making his second start there for the season. The other time he started was on April 3 — Victorino was banged up that day as well, having collided with Francisco the game before. Martinez was an odd choice for a roster spot to start the season and hasn’t done a whole lot since being given one. Mayberry in right with Francisco on the bench. Orr at second against the righty with Valdez on the bench.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Mayberry walked with two outs in the second, but was left stranded when Orr grounded to short behind him.

Ruiz led off the third with a single, but Halladay struck out trying to bunt him to second behind him. Rollins flew to right for the second out before Martinez sent Ruiz to third with a single. Polanco grounded to short for the first out.

Halladay isn’t a good hitter, but he’s been especially bad this year. He came into the game 1-for-19 for the season with 11 strikeouts and 0-for-his-last-8 with six strikeouts.

Mayberry walked with two outs and stole second. He was nearly picked off of second base by Hudson, but Gonzalez dropped the ball as he tried to apply the tag and Mayberry was safe. Orr walked, putting men on first and second for Ruiz, but Ruiz grounded to short to turn the Phils away.

Mayberry got pretty lucky not to be picked off.

The Phils trailed 1-0 when they hit in the fifth. Halladay, Rollins and Martinez went in order.

Polanco walked to start the sixth. Howard flew to center behind him for the first out and Ibanez popped to short for the second. That brought Mayberry to the plate and he hit a 2-0 pitch out to left, putting the Phils up 2-1. Orr followed with a single to right and stole second. Ruiz was walked intentionally to put two on base for Halladay. Halladay lined to second to leave both men stranded.

Rollins, Martinez and Polanco went in order in the seventh.

Lefty Jonny Venters set Howard, Ibanez and Mayberry down in order in the eighth.

Francisco hit for Orr to start the ninth and the righty Craig Kimbrel took over for Venters on the mound. Francisco drew a walk before Ruiz flew to Jason Heyward in right for the first out. Gload hit for Halladay and struck out missing an 0-2 slider by a whole lot for the second out. Rollins got behind and a 1-2 pitch in the dirt got away from McCann, allowing Francisco to move up to second. Rollins flew to left 2-2 to end the game.

Nice job by Francisco to get on base against the righty to start the inning, but the Phils can’t do anything with Kimbrel after that.

Rollins was 0-for-5 in the game and 2-for-14 with two doubles in the series. 270/352/365 for the year.

Martinez was 1-for-4 in the game and 2-for-5 in the series. 5-for-25 with five singles on the year. Victorino was 2-for-8 in the series and is hitting 284/343/503 for the season.

Polanco 0-for-3 with a walk yesterday and 2-for-10 with two singles and two walks in the series. 340/386/438 for the year and 220/263/260 in May.

Howard was 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the game. 2-for-12 with a double and a home run in the game. 260/329/513 for the year. 185/267/389 with 19 strikeouts over his last 60 plate appearances.

Ibanez was 0-for-4 yesterday and 2-for-10 with two singles, a walk and an RBI in the series. 230/288/348 for the year.

Mayberry 1-for-2 with two walks and a two-run homer, which was the only extra-base hit in yesterday’s game for the Phils. 1-for-4 in the series. 295/415/500 for the year. Francisco walked in his only plate appearance yesterday and was 1-for-8 with a walk in the set to drop his line on the year to 222/336/357. He’s 3-for-32 (.091) with three singles and eight walks in May. His numbers for the year are bad all over, but he’s hitting 206/289/265 (7-for-32 with two walks and two doubles) against lefties for the season.

Orr was 1-for-2 with a walk. 1-for-5 with a walk in the series. 259/333/315 in 54 at-bats for the year. Valdez didn’t play yesterday but was 1-for-4 with a double in the series. He’s hitting 239/272/295 on the year.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk yesterday. 1-for-6 with two walks in the series in his first action since returning from the DL. Both of the walks were intentional. He’s hitting 221/325/353 for the year. Sardinha started game two and went 0-for-2. He’s 3-for-15 on the year.

Cliff Lee (2-3, 3.78) faces righty Jake Westbrook (2-3, 6.92) tonight in St Louis. Westbrook hasn’t allowed a ton of home runs this year, just three in 39 innings, but way too many hits (51) and too many walks (20). He had put together three nice starts in a row, but got blasted his last time out, allowing five runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Cubs. Lee has allowed three runs or less in six of his eight starts and struck out 64 in 52 1/3 innings.

This says that Contreras could begin a rehab assignment by the middle of the week and that Lidge thinks he might be able to join the pen by the end of June.

Utley was 0-for-4 with Clearwater on Sunday and is 4-for-14 with a double and a home run with them so far.

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